Nepal enthralls visitors with high Himalayan peaks, natural attractions, ever-smiling dwellers, timeless culture and tradition, rich wildlife, and thrilling adventure options. But Nepal’s attraction is not limited to these. The country’s gifted artisans produce innumerable high-end handcrafted souvenirs that travelers can take back to remember this enchanting country. Souvenirs are the keepsake to cherish travel memories for the rest of their life.
Whether it is soft cashmere products, artistic Thangka paintings, gold-plated sculptors, gold and silver utensils, or handmade rugs, one can take these souvenirs to gift to friends and families back home.
These are some high-end souvenirs that can be taken from Nepal
Cashmere, or pashmina, is a high-value cashmere clothing produced in Nepal. It is a silk-like fabric made from the soft hair of mountain goats popularly known as cashmere goats. The prices of cashmere products depends on the quality of the fabric used and the design of the products. Cashmere fabric has been produced in Nepal for thousands of years. The fiber is also known as pashmina, derived from the Persian word Pashm.
Woolen shawls have appeared in books found between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. The cashmere collection is known to offer a wide range of classic and contemporary clothing and accessories for everyone. Capra Hircus, also known as Chyangra in Nepal, is the major source of Cashmere. The soft hair comes from the underbelly of these mountain goats which reside in the Himalayan Belt and Inner Mongolian region above 12,000 ft. Farmed and combed annually, a single goat is known to give nearly 70 to 90 grams of hair in a year. The hair is then separated according to its density. Cashmere shawls are woven from the finer and shorter hair, whereas longer hair is used to make Cashmere sweaters in order to provide more strength and to retain a proper shape for a longer period of time. Known for its smoothness, softness, and warmth, cashmere has been considered one of the world’s most luxurious natural fabrics. It is considered to be eight times warmer than the normal wool and a hallmark of sheer elegance and style.
Cashmere products have always remained the first choice for quality-conscious people and have been admired for centuries by royal families globally.
Gold-plated sculptures are one of the most famous souvenirs to take back from Nepal. One can find variety of idols of different gods and goddesses and mythological characters, or even different temples made by skilled artisans. Most of these idols revolve around the Hindu and Buddhist religions, and the most popular are the ones of Buddha and Tara.
These idols and other sculptures are used for religious purposes during puja, worshipping, or also for decorations. Some highly expensive sculptures are intricately designed and plated by gold and even adorned with rare and expensive jewels.
Price of these products depends on the amount of time it takes to make the structure, and the components used. What makes these products special is that they are handcrafted and require a great degree of dedication, hard work, and the attention of multiple people. The sculptures here also have Feng Shui properties attached to them. Most of them are believed to bring a certain type of blessing when placed in a certain direction.
Gold and Silver Dining Sets
The gold and silver cutlery sets made in Nepal are of high quality. For very long, the use of silver and gold dinner sets has been linked with affluent people, and it is said that the mighty Kings dined in silver and gold cutleries. The silver cutlery sets have also been linked with certain health benefits as they are bacteria free and non-toxic, retain freshness of food as well as boost immunity.
Many jewelry shops in Nepal sell beautiful gold and silver dinner sets. They can be simple or intricately designed. These handcrafted cutleries are a very luxurious and worthy souvenir to take back home.
Similarly, Nepal also has galore of beautifully designed handmade jewelry that can be custom-made as well. These jewelries are also made from gold, silver and diamonds, and adorned with various other natural stones.
Luxurious Nepali handmade rugs are a perfect souvenir to take back to decorate your home wall and floors. These rugs are famous for their design and their feel. What makes it even more special is that many handmade rugs weaving facilities offer personalized rugs made according to your taste. The rugs can have modern or traditional design, or simply be plain. It can have cultural decorations as well. The rugs are made using a wide variety of materials like the Tibetan wool, Chinese silk, and Banana fiber to name a few. One can even combine two or more materials in a single rug if its a matter of interest.
Thangka, also known as Pauwa, is Buddhist paintings on cotton or silk appliqué usually depicting a deity, scene, or a mandala. These paintings are usually hung or are framed. The price of these paintings can vary from Rs 20,000 to millions of rupees, depending on the time taken to paint them and the materials used.
Thangkas are usually coated with a silk cover at the front yet very delicate. Thangkas have been painted since the 12th century. Originally from Tibet, Thangkas then evolved to be a major export product of Nepal. Thangkas are especially made for commercial purpose, but can also be found in monasteries in Nepal.
The word ‘Thangka’ is believed to have derived from Tibetan word ‘thang yig’ which means written record. These paintings are visually and spiritually inspiring. Thangkas are available in different categories. For example, tson-tang thangkas are of common type, while go-tang thangkas are made of one material sewn over others. Similarly, nag-tang means gold line on a back background, block prints thangkas are paper or cloth rendering by woodblock printing, and thsim-tang thangka means embroidery. Thangkas with a gold background generally depict long-life deities and fully enlightened Buddhas. Likewise, red background thangkas refer to the gold line on the vermilion.
Thangka artists describe their job as meditation as it needs full dedication to work, starting from the background sketches to the final touches.
Thangkas are a popular souvenir for tourists who use this painting for meditation as well as decoration.
- Featured photo: The khukuris on display in the local streets in Patan Durbar Square. by Swarnima Shrestha